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Sweetshop owners on health dept's radar

punjab Updated: Oct 31, 2012 23:16 IST
Harshraj Singh
Harshraj Singh
Hindustan Times
fortnight for Diwali

With less then a fortnight for Diwali, the residents want that the health department should check sweets at every sweetmeat shop in the district.

According to officials of the health department, they have already started the drive to check adulteration in sweets.

A report comes after 15 days after the collection of any sample. If a team takes sample now, the people would come to know that the sweets they consumed were adulterated or not after Diwali.

According to various sweetmeat shops, the demand for sweets made of milk and milk products increase during the festive season.

Talking about the plans for festive season, food safety officer Ravinder Garg said they would check the hygiene conditions at various eateries and would also conduct more raids in the days to come.

He said eatery owners should maintain personal hygiene at places where food was being prepared. Dry fruits and colours in sweets would also be checked.

The food safety officer said after collection, samples were being sent for testing and reports come after 15 days. He said the department had given instructions to sweetmeat shops to use original silver leaf on sweets, original pista, permitted colours and other products.
"The consumption of khoya increases during the festive season as compared to its production," he added.

According to sources, chemical colours are also being used to colour dry fruits.

District health officer Dr Kulwinder Singh said they were collecting samples from big sweetmeat shops also. The health department had taken a total of 85 samples of food articles in the month of October from various eateries. He said out of 85 samples, 51 were milk and related products. He also confirmed that three samples failed the test.

According to a report by the civil surgeon office, 1,049 samples of various food items were collected under the food safety and standard act in 2012 and 47 failed the tests.

In 2011, 799 samples of various food items were collected and 136 samples failed tests.

City resident Talwinder Singh said the demand for sweets increase around Diwali, so the teams of the health department should conduct more raids in all parts of the district.

He said some shops remain unchecked. The health department should ensure the safety of the health of people.

Deputy director dairy Dilbagh Singh said around 1,950 samples of milk were tested during various camps in the district this year. Of them around 900 fail the purity test. He said 40-60% water was found in the failed samples of milk. He also informed that no harmful chemicals were found in these samples of milk.

Cancer specialist Dr Devinder Singh Sandhu said harmful chemicals like urea in milk and eatables could cause liver damage, gastroenteritis, brain problem, cancer and other diseases.

President of Halwayee Association Punjab Narinderpal Singh appealed to the public to buy and eat sweets without any hesitation and enjoy the festivals with sweets. He said they were using best quality products according to the norms of food safety and standard act.

Social activist Manjit Singh Mehram said, "It is a fact that the health department do not check sweets and eatables at big shops and hotels. The department should also collect samples from big shops and hotel from time to time."

Food Safety and Standard Act
Food safety officer Ravinder Garg said according to food safety and standard act, cases of less adulteration and labelling matters come in the categories of "substandard" and "misbranded".

While the use of synthetic and major adulterated products, including harmful chemicals, insects in food, come under "unsafe" category.

According to food safety officer Ravinder Garg, if water is mixed in milk then it falls under the category of substandard. There is a provision of fine if a sample falls under "substandard" or "misbranded". If the sample is "unsafe" then there is a provision for both fine and imprisonment.

Methods to check purity
Put a drop of iodine liquid on khoya. If a blue layer is formed, it indicates the presence of starch in khoya.

Rub the silver leaf layer on sweets with two fingers if it becomes powder then it is original. If after rubbing it forms a wick then it could be aluminium foil which is dangerous for health.